How to Grow Your LinkedIn Network the Easy Way - dummies

By Joshua Waldman

If you find yourself with fewer than 143 LinkedIn connections (or fewer than your target number like 500+), you can take a more liberal approach to growing your network. Consider becoming a LION for a short time. At the very least, consider finding and inviting a handful of LIONs to join your network.

Their large networks serve to increase your second- and third-degree connections substantially. So even if you don’t want to add tons of strangers to your network, at least the few LIONs you do add can give you some substantial benefit.

Following are a few ways to promote yourself as a LION:

  • Put “LION” next to your last name in your profile.

  • Enter your e-mail address in your profile summary and say, “Invites welcome.”

  • Join several open networking groups, such as Lion500, TopLinked, or Open Networker. To find more, just do a group search for “open networking.”

    To do a group search, simply click on Groups from the drop-down menu next to the search bar and type in your search keywords.

  • Go to the Members tab at the top of any open networking group. In the search area, search for members in your area of interest.

    Invite these open networkers to join your network. Remember that if they didn’t want to get your invite, they wouldn’t be a member of a LION group.

Whenever your network reaches the size and depth you’re comfortable with, simply stop being an open networker.

One disadvantage to being a LION for too long is that your network is filled with strangers. This means you’re not in a strong position to ask for introductions to target companies. Use your LION status sparingly to just help you over the first few humps of getting to your target number of 143 or 500 connections.

Also be sure to stop being a LION when you begin to actively reach out to hiring managers, because they may not agree with the approach.

Although inviting open networkers to connect is fairly safe, you do risk the possibility of your account being flagged or blacklisted if LinkedIn thinks you’re spamming. If you send out more than 50 invites a day, LinkedIn may flag you.

If you send out invites and then many people respond with “I don’t know,” you may get blacklisted. If this happens, you need to write an apology e-mail to customer service. Next time, pace yourself.